Lewis Wolpert: from soil mechanics to cell mechanics

Lewis Wolpert explains his switch from soil mechanics to cell mechanics in the mid 1950s.

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But I wasn't happy doing soil mechanics and I told a friend of mine in South Africa - Wilfred Stein - he knew that - I'd written to him and told him that I was - what should I do?  And I got a letter from him - he said I'd just been reading in the paper about scientists looking at the mechanical properties of cells when they divide: I think that's what you should do.  And he was coming to King's College in London, and I went to the professor where he was going and I said, “Is there any chance that I could do this?"  And he said, “Yes."  And he arranged for me to do a PhD on the mechanics of cell division - so although I finished - I had a scholarship to do that course on soil mechanics, but when I finished it I went to King's College and started doing a PhD on the mechanics of cell division. [...]  I mean living things are really so remarkable whereas I find soils not that interesting [laughs] I'm sorry to say.  You know, the sea urchin egg which I spent a lot of time on: the way it develops into a sea urchin in so beautiful and the films I made with my friend Trygve were just amazing.  I mean the cell is just the most remarkable evolutionary thing ever.
  • Interviewee Lewis Wolpert
  • Duration 00:01:30
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Paul Merchant
  • Date of interview 4/28/2015
  • Shelfmark C1672/06
  • Keywords

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